Upon entering Bay Street, a buzz of excitement and anticipation blanketed the theater. It was 6:50 p.m., and the audience burrowed into their seats, ready to be taken back in time to 1930, when it was a sin “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The sound of people flipping through paper programs filled the space as the last guests shuffled in and the lights went dim. “Sit back, relax, and enjoy ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,'” a member of the Bay Street Theater told theatergoers.
On a set complete with a tire swing and two traditional American homes, the cast took audience members on a journey that tested the social and legal boundaries between good and evil, and black and white in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama.
Jean Louise Finch, otherwise known as Scout, was the star of the show, mostly because her character was played by two very talented actresses. Chloё Dirksen played the grown up version of the character and acted as the narrator by telling the story through flashbacks, and Jemma Kosanke played the innocent 5-year-old child that we all know and love.
The flashback-like approach, which helped to open and close the show, was highly successful and helped audience members to fully understand the plot of Harper Lee’s novel. In between imperative scenes, Dirksen came on stage to narrate and explain to the audience the specific happenings of the lead characters.
The main characters, which included Scout, her brother Jem and their father Atticus Finch, lived in a time when the Great Depression was in full swing in the United States. Atticus, played by Scott Eck, was a well-respected lawyer who acts as the “hero” of the story by agreeing to defend Tom Robinson, a black man wrongly accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
By protecting Robinson, Atticus becomes a subject of scorn in the town. All the while, Jem and Scout are determined get their neighbor, Boo Radley, to come out of his house and are also focused on knowing every bit of information on the trial.
During the trial, actors appeared to consider the audience as jury members, and Jem and Scout joined the audience to watch the proceeding.
From swinging on a tire and gardening with her neighbor Miss Maudie to venturing through the dark in a Ham costume with Jem, where an unexpected person came to their rescue, Scout brought life to a tale that was published in 1960.
Under the direction of Joe Minutillo, the cast of “To Kill a Mockingbird” thrives in telling a classic and inspiring tale. This performance is part of the Literature Live! Series and will be shown to nearly 3,000 students throughout the month of November as part of the new Free Student Ticket Initiative.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit www.baystreet.org.